Jimmy’s Farm in Suffolk cleared to open after bird flu scare

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The farm run by Jimmy Doherty includes livestock as well as wildlife such as zebra, capybara and wallabies

A visitor farm and zoo run by Jamie Oliver’s friend and TV co-host Jimmy Doherty has been cleared to reopen after it temporarily shut due to a suspected case of bird flu.

Jimmy’s Farm at Wherstead, near Ipswich in Suffolk, closed on Tuesday while a possible case among its exotic birds was investigated.

It said it was “delighted to announce that we do not have an outbreak of avian influenza”.

It will reopen on Wednesday.

It said in a statement the attraction said: “Our restrictions have been lifted and we are now able to reopen.

“We would like to thank our hardworking team and the swift actions taken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency inspectors.

“We are currently one of the lucky ones, but many farms and wildlife parks are facing unprecedented outbreaks.

“This is challenging the poultry industry in ways we’ve never experienced or seen before.”

It also called on the government to take “urgent action” to “save people’s livelihoods.”

People who had had bookings for Tuesday would be contacted, the farm said.

The closure comes amid months of turmoil for farmers across Britain who have been forced to cull or keep poultry inside due to outbreaks of avian flu.

In the last year, 161 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were detected in poultry and captive birds, leading to the culling of 3.2 million birds in the UK.

As of 7 November, all poultry and captive birds in England had to be kept indoors under government restrictions which aimed to tackle the outbreak.

The mandatory order to keep birds indoors followed regional measures introduced in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex in September.

Doherty came to prominence with the BBC TV programme Jimmy’s Farm, which focused on his attempts to set up a rare-breed pig farm, which has since expanded into a wildlife park featuring animals including wallabies, monkeys, capybaras and an anteater, as well as goats, ducks and pigs.

The Jimmy’s Farm website said the attraction had a variety of “awesome feathered friends” on site, including rheas, emus, laughing kookaburras and Indian peafowl.

It has an indoor enclosure for some of the birds which they share with a crocodile tank, while other birds are kept outdoors.

Doherty has also co-hosted Channel 4’s Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, a cooking show based at Southend Pier.

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